HOW TO WEAR ILLUMINATING YELLOW - Ideas for incorporating this cheery hue in your wardrobe.
July 18th 2021 / Revised: October 14th 2022
The American print company Pantone, which chooses a new shade every year as the 'Color of the Year', announced their choice for 2021 as Illuminating Yellow, paired with Grey. In the past typically selecting just one color, for 2021 (just as they did in 2016) Pantone announced two colors. After the turmoil of 2020, the global color authority selected two contrasting colors that join forces to support and complement each other. Ultimate Gray is fairly neutral evoking feelings of dependability and resilience, while Illuminating is a cheery yellow that’s bright and sunny with an overall optimistic feel. Brought together, the color pairing offers hope and stability.
“The Pantone Color of the Year reflects what is taking place in our global culture, expressing what people are looking for that color can hope to answer. As society continues to recognize color as a critical form of communication, and a way to symbolize thoughts and ideas, many designers and brands are embracing the language of color to engage and connect.”
Yellow isn’t a colour that you typically see everyone wearing. People see it as bright, loud, and in-your-face. It’s a bold colour, and most consider it something you wouldn’t wear if trying to play it safe.
Most people, other than professional catwalk strutters would ever usually wear head-to-toe yellow. Consider your outfit well though, and yellow - the colour of the mind and intellect, associated with optimism and a cheerful disposition - isn't so difficult to pair into your outfits after all.
Here are my style tips on how to filter yellow into your outfits without screaming “Look at Me”!:
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Let the Accessories Pop
Yellow is a happy colour, and allows you to show off your playful side, for a standout Racing Fashion look. Being a bright colour you don’t need much of it to give your outfit just that bit of extra flair.
The easy way to show you are au fait with this fun colour is to use for the accessories only: a cheering nod to the sunny shade. Nothing says ‘sunshine state of mind’ better than a bold-yellow hat and bag, against an other wise tame neutral dress.
Like its close relative green, yellow compliments just about any other colour in the rainbow, so is the perfect colour pop. It can be used as an accent to navy, green, deep purple, burgundy, cobalt blue, teals, turquoise and, of course, white, silver, grey and browns..
Unless like Amal Clooney and Meghan Markle, you are lucky enough to have a deeper skin tone, then Yellow is best avoided near the face, as it doesn't flatter most people. It is super fun and Summery in outfits though, so stick to lower body. White plays well with Yellow for Spring / Summer, with the white softening the bright yellows. Lemon Yellow also pairs especially well with silver (also very in keeping with the current Metallics for Daywear trend), and create a chic feel.
Choose more subtle pale yellows for occasions, when bright yellow might feel too brash. For a day at the races, bright is a go ahead and super fun.
Follow pantones advise and pair Illuminating Yellow, Colour of the Year 2021, with Pantones other colour of the Year Ultimate Grey. "The union of an enduring Ultimate Grey, with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude" - Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute.
For Spring / Summer Racing Fashion you can wear with a third colour. A harmonising colour - like Fuchsia. The yellow can stand out, yet it harmonizes well with the outfit.
Looking for a stand out from the crown outfit for the Kentucky Derby, Dubai World Cup or Royal Ascot?
Worn for a friends wedding then all over yellow would be to in your face and attention seeking (something only Amal Clooney is allowed to do), but for the Kentucky Derby, Royal Ascot, Dubai World Cup or Melbourne Cup everyone is allowed to grab attention and show off their playful side, with this standout Racing Fashion look.
You don’t have to go Black, Brown or Grey for Winter Weddings. Neither am I suggesting you wear super bright sunshine or lemon yellow, but Mustard and Saffron hues are divine in winter, worn to add a winter colour pop to Neutrals. These jewel-toned yellows are a richer winter shade and will bring contrast to your paler winter skin. Definitely avoid pale or pastel yellows in winter.
For maximum creativity, these winter yellows will also work with Deep Green, or Burgundy, but most often will be seen with Neutrals - Camel, Brown, Toffee, Navy or Grey. Avoid doing a Black Suit / Jumpsuit and Yellow accessories as that looks totally "Bumble Bee", but any of the other neutrals will make a stunning outfit for fall or winter weddings.